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Sailing team heads to Championship

October 19, 2018

Courtesy of Brian Beard
DON'T ROCK THE BOAT: Matt Kaplan ’19 and Alissa Chen ’22 at practice. It's common for sailing teams to have coed sailing partners.

This Saturday, approximately seven of Bowdoin’s top sailors will head to Maryland to compete in one of the most significant and competitive regattas of the fall season: the Showcase Finals at St. Mary’s College. The Polar Bears qualified for this event after a strong performance at the Coed Showcase Regatta at MIT two weekends ago.

According to captain Louisa Lindgren ’19, this regatta will likely be more competitive than a national championship. Whereas nationals limits the number of berths, or spots in a race, per region, this regatta will boast more teams from the most competitive regions.

“The region that we’re in, NEISA, is definitely the most competitive region of all of them … NEISA only gets eight or nine spots [at nationals], but at this event there are going to be 11 NEISA teams, so it is all of the most competitive teams of the nation coming together to compete,” said Lindgren.

To prepare for this high level of competition, the team has been striving to become more comfortable in competitive situations.

“We’ve been getting a lot more competitive on the water and in the gym,” said Lindgren. “We want everyone to challenge themselves.”

Lindgren said this type of training is especially important for improving the starts of races, which are often difficult for sailors.

“Starting lines are very hard to replicate in practice … We’ve been trying to make things more competitive [in practices] by shortening the distance of the line so that there is less space, or by mimicking a bad start and then trying to work our way up from that,” said Lindgren.

Head Coach Frank Pizzo ’06 added that the team has been working on “dealing with the unexpected” and preparing for a variety of conditions.

“It’s always good to get a range of conditions at practice so that you are prepared for anything at the regattas,” said Pizzo.

The upcoming regatta is a two-fleet and two-division race; in other words, the team will be sailing in two types of sailboats—Flying Juniors (FJs) and 420s—and sailors will be racing in either the A division or the B division. This set-up lends itself to a lot of sailing, and Pizzo sees the regatta as a chance for the team to improve and gain experience.

“We just want to keep getting better at the things we’ve been working on,” said Pizzo. “St. Mary’s is a great place to sail. They have an awesome boat house and have run many championships in the past, so it should be a good weekend for us to compete against great teams and get ready for our fall championships and the spring season.”

All in all, the team is looking forward to participating in this event.

“We’re really hoping it’s going to be a good weekend and we can put everything out there,” said Lindgren.


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